Bayview kids head to Africa and France
thanks to Bayview Opera House
By Pat Murphy
Copyright fogcityjournal.com 2006
May 26, 2006
Bayview youngsters prepare for a return trip to Africa and France
next month arriving shoulders back and standing tall already versed
in the local language.
The trip set for June 27 through July 2 is the product of community
support for the ongoing Bayview Opera House program, which ballooned
its trip coffers this week through a tear stained and laughter
lifted art auction.
Auctioneer Reggie Dickerson, a rising San Francisco performer
as a Sammy Davis, Jr. look-alike, starts the bidding.
Tears came in video and again at the City Club Tuesday from emotional
impact of travelers seen standing in an African dungeon where
locals had crossed the point of no return into slavery.
The video also elicited laughs as Bayview young ones related
their childhood once-over of Africa - 'The electricity was better
than I thought it would be.'
Shelley Bradford-Bell shares a laugh with benefactor Joe O'Donoghue
at left, by Mayor Willie Brown's daughter Susan Brown.
Susan Brown with art connoisseur Henry Winston.
Shelley Bradford-Bell produced the documentary video of the Bayview
Opera House first trip to Africa and France made in 2004.
Stops included Dakar, Senegal and Paris, France.
As director of development and long range planning for the Opera
House, Bradford-Bell led the trip laughing loudest and the last
to stop tearing.
And the students, drawn from Opera House language programs developed
in coordination with the San Francisco Unified School District,
rarely stopped beaming as they made their introductions in French
to the French native born.
Itinerary included France to study French history of African
Next month the journey begins again honoring the 100th birthday
of actress Josephine Baker, who made her 1925 debut in La Revue
Nègre at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées.
When nazis banned jews and blacks from French theater in 1940,
Baker went underground as an agent for the French resistance.
Her triumphant resurfacing in 1944 included receipt of the French
Medal of Honor.
Former Mayor Willie Brown helped launch the first trip with a
$50,000 donation, Bell recalled.
Ten children aged 9 to 11-years-old participate in the trips.
"These youngsters participate in a special program on the
language, history, art and culture of Dakar, Senegal and Paris,
France," explained Bell.
"They learn basic French, prepare an art project for exhibition
in France and Africa, and learn about the history and culture
of Senegal and France. The ten youth selected for the 2006 tour
will be joined by those who took the tour in 2004.
"The purpose is to continue to enhance the knowledge and
experience of these children as they grow to young adults. By
the year 2014 the program will have 50 new and return youth between
the age of 9 and 21 participating in the tour.
"The children attend after-school workshops and classes
at the Bayview Opera House. French classes are provided by the
Alliance Française of San Francisco. They are held once
a week. The youth will also attend a Saturday art workshop, where
they will prepare the paintings they will exhibit in Paris and
To donate, click
Susan Horsfall, right, with program director Shelly Bradford-Bell.
Bell credits Horsfall with program coordination heavy lifting.
Sentinel columnist Pat Murphy tries a hand at auctioneering.
Who is that white boy auctioneer?
Civil rights activist and fundraiser Fred Naranjo, at right.
Former Supervisor Alycia Becerril with Sentinel publisher Luke
Photo by Fred Naranjo